Fighting Against the Norms of Being Strong, Slow & Weak


I gotta address something ASAP, this is becoming a BIGGER and BIGGER problem. I'm sure this will anger many and then we'll have a few that can argue against this but it's time to unleash some TRUTH.

It's starting to piss me off because we have all these "strong" people who can't perform in the "Real World".

I'm done with simply chasing a bigger bench, squat and deadlift and you need to end that route as well unless you're a powerlifter and willing to live with the pain that comes with it.

Chase that dream and let me know how your back feels every morning, how your shoulders feel and how it interferes with doing anything besides squatting or deadlifting.

Try playing with your kids with your back all jacked up. It ain't cool, trust me, been there and done that. I HATED myself when it was happening. Don't e mail me that you got hurt getting out of your car and pulled your lower back, or, strained your shoulder taking out the garbage. This shit happens.

At my recent Underground Strength Coach Cert, I had a MovNat Coach who shocked me by signing up. He's a former Commando Marine in The French Army as well as a free diver and expert in various close quarter combat training methods. His great knowledge and fitness is NO secret, as I see that he is ALWAYS learning and expanding his knowledge.

I LOVE seeing Coaches out to learn more. Vic flew 27 hrs to attend the Certification where as countless local Coaches had excuses for not needing to learn more, what a shame.

On the second day of The USC Cert, Vic found no taxi for a ride to the gym so he traveled by foot for an hour and THEN we trained all day. For the normal person this would have been a struggle, but not for Vic, he is the new breed of man, or, perhaps, the older breed of man, when men were strong, fit and agile and had respect for their mind and body unlike the majority of today's men.

It's embarrassing to see the new breed of men and to even hear about this sad state that is on the rise. Sure, there are some FAT powerlifters and olympic lifters who can jump and run but they are far and few between. In addition, I'm talking about health, what's going inside the body, not just on the outside.

grif parallel bar hand walking

I see this "Too Strong, Too Fat, Too Slow" issue with MANY athletes, especially football players who simply chase strength and pack on excess fat. They are USELESS on the Gridiron. Too fat & out of shape to make it through a full practice or go full force through an entire game.

Sure, they can squat, bench and dead heavy but they can't even perform a bodyweight lunge, a jump, pull ups, rope climbs or sprints.They're always hurt, tired, crying, whining and complaining. The solution is to shut the f**k up and CHANGE, don't complain.

I see it in adults as well, especially those who fall in love with powerlifting or non-functional bodybuilding and make excuses for not performing athletic based movements, animal training and in a nut shell, exactly what we do HERE.

They complain that performing a longer warm up will interfere with their ability to train heavy. FIRST, be in shape..... if a warm up is a problem for you, then you're probably a fat, lazy bastard.

Here's the issue: you get too strong for your own good, training through only one plane of movement, negelcting all other movement planes, then you become weak anytime you step outside of that same ol', same ol' straight up and down movement. In essence, you're weak unless you are doing the typical squat / deadlift motion.

Well, welcome to the real world because that ain't gonna help you when it's time to MOVE.

In life & sport, nothing is certain, this is why I utilize various training tools along with bodyweight to allow for varied movement patterns and maximum results. I've been performing lots of kettlebell windmills and bent pressing to open up my body more so, as well as going back to more odd objects and gymnastics based training.

You'll feel healthier, stronger, more athletic and all around more agile, mobile and hostile. After a while, it's the process that matters, not the numbers. REMEMBER: be a Soul Lifter.

I'm unleashing these methods to those who want to learn. If you've got excuses for not moving like an animal and remaining a fat bastard then this will anger you because it will take you outside your comfort zone.

Remember what I've always told you: Get comfortable being UNcomfortable.

  • Train with new implements
  • Follow a new program for 6 weeks
  • Take a break from free weights and go ALL bodyweight or ALL Kettlebells for 4 weeks
  • Run Hills 2 - 3 x week
  • Add the jump rope to your warm ups or between every few sets for 100 reps at a time
  • Throw the medicine ball & get creative with it. Use the wall and throw outdoors. Sprint after the ball and repeat.

Every month I post our training to The Underground Strength Academy.

I also share what I do myself, with the athletes and much more.

Click HERE to see what's inside The Underground Strength Academy.

Live The Code 365,



17 Responses

  1. Strong, lean, and fast beats Strong, fat and slow every time. I am constantly reminding these young athletes to lose the scale and do not worry about how much you weigh in bodyweight. I see too many high school football players (lineman) that are down right FAT, but bench XXX, who gives a rats ass I tell them. You put one of these kids through a body weight circuit workout and he is huffing and puffing in about 30 seconds, by round two the kid is all locked up from lactic acid buildup. Now I am not against building pure raw strength by using the big lifts, but I see much better results that carry over to life and athletics by incorporating Underground style training methods.

    How much you bench? Who gives a F$ck! Let me see you do a Tabata pushup/chinup circuit.

  2. How much you bench? Every single college football coach in the country wants to see high bench/squat/power clean numbers.. regardless of their athletic ability…. is it important for an athlete to have high numbers? I say yes… A lot of people will point to “player x” who has low numbers but plays the game well… guess what? Those guys are few and far in between…. I’ve seen freaks of natures that could dominate without working out.. I’ve seen 500lb benchers not be able to block one on one… I’ve seen a dude who can power clean 400lbs absolutely dominate anyone in his path…. For the people that say that numbers aren’t important, they can make the difference between signing a SEC scholarship or an MAC scholarship,… Strength numbers aren’t the be all end all for “washed up meatheads”, but for athletes, they definitely are.

  3. Z!

    I stumbled across the MoveNat stuff a couple of weeks ago; that stuff is LEGIT!

    I live on a ranch, and have gotten back into just tearing off through the brush–sprinting, jumping over cactus and bushes, cutting to get through holes–it brings me back to my high school football days (it was one of my favorite workouts then but got away from it in college) and always makes me feel “alive” and athletic.

    Although I DO believe you have to be strong to get the “most” out of yourself athletically, the ability to produce that strength through athletic various movements and different training methods (NOT just barbells and one plane of motion) is HUGE.

    Can’t wait to see how you progress after continuing with this “mindset” for awhile. Keep us posted!

  4. Al – I am with you bro, to excel beyond the high school level, these big and fat athletes will get hammered!! They need to lean up and develop better absolute strength, better relative body strength and overall develop athleticism! I’m w/ya, bro!

  5. David, numbers are important, YES, but do they make the difference in scholarship? Hmmmmm, not so sure. The Coaches want to see the kid PLAY. If he kicks ass then we r looking at scholarships.

    I’ve prob. seen more BIG and bulky gets kids get signed b/c they could play yet they were actually WEAK in the weight room – I think the college coaches saw a kid they could MOLD.

    Numbers DO play a role, but the most impt role is how they play.

    I’ve spoken to a large number of D1 Coaches and my fair share of strength coaches in the NFL, they all said the coaches wanna see these kids PLAY.


  6. GR – hells yea bro, dig your style! I AGREE, we can’t have weak athletes, the athleticism won’t come and we need STRONG athletes – we then must train them to USE that strength and become athletic, i.e. powerful and agile.

    I still wanna see them squat, dead and bench but from there, I wanna see speed, agility, power, conditioning and mental toughness.

    I wanna see VIDEO of GR in training!


  7. Wonder what you meant by having the picture of Alexeev. If you show him as an example of a non-athletic lifter, you are wrong. He ran a 11 sec 100m.

  8. James Buchanan says:

    Love that vid, I do a lot of that stuff, in a somewhat less tropical Scotland! The tree climbing gave me a lot of new ideas, normally I just shimmy up, I’ll have the shoes off next time!

  9. zach, definitely understand where you are coming from. I got my first few contacts from DI because they saw my strength numbers. If you can impress coaches from the first contact, that relationship will flourish. Offseason is for getting big and strong. Preseason is for getting fast and in good shape. Is barbell training the be all end all? What about kettlebell, crossfit, or bodyweight? I feel that every and all sorts of training implemented intelligently will illicit the greatest gains. People have to remember that strength and conditioning is a means to an end-becoming a better football player… you dont get better at playing football by lifting.. you lift and run so you can practice playing football harder, stronger, longer.

    sorry for the rant/bitching… its by no means directed at you zach. keep doing your thing. i personally love bodyweight exercises for conditioning.. did a burpee/jump rope, lunge, squat jump, etc circuit this morning.. feeling great!

  10. Kapil, he was an AMAZING athlete, broke 80 world records!! He had an amazing vertical and sprinting and strength, etc. – BUT, was he healthy? I speak of health inside AND out.

    He is an AMAZING champion, but I’m starting to look at the total package.

  11. David u r so right, brutha, NO worries on any rant, I love the comments my man, but you are dead on, you gotta be great on the field, the weight room helps, but the skills need to be there, the higher levels as you know, KNOW that they wanna see performance on the Gridiron first!

  12. That guy Vic is amazingly calm (compared to you & myself!) for what he’s doing & teaching. Did he even mention or complain how he got to where you were training.

    Ok – to your article. I couldn’t agree more. Obviously we all like to lift and get strong, fit, in shape , etc but if you can’t do basic everyday stuff w/o problems you need to address that first before worrying about your numbers on the big 3 lifts. I’ve had this discussion w/ a guy I work with who played football in college. I have no doubt that he’s strong as an Ox ….for 1 max lift but the guy can’t do 1 pull -up to save his life & would be out of breath if he had to jog across a parking lot. WTF? Come on …think bigger picture than football. Lifting groceries, playing w/ the kids in your family, going up a flight of stairs,pushing an out of gas car, lifting your motorcycle off the ground if it tipped, on & on. Yes I’m sure coaches like to see a strong player but when does a strong 1 rep bench press help u lift your 100 yr old overweight neighbor off the floor w/o hurting her when she can’t get up ?

  13. what type of split do you use at your gym?

  14. you could beat this topic to death.. it all depends upon what sport or what result you are trying to achieve. I do agree that some of these “lazy” looking huge guys with guts can run a 4.2 second 40 yard dash……. on the other hand if your game is ballet or distance running, you might want to lay off the barbell…….

  15. Great post Zach. Quality, quality stuff. I love where you’re going.

    I had the pleasure of training with Vic for an extended time in Thailand this year and, yes. Vic is the REAL DEAL!!!

    It all comes down to this for me: I want to be able to do what I want, where I want, and when­ever I want with­out fear of injury. This means train­ing in a way that makes me strong phys­i­cally and mentally for my family, friends, and loved ones. Screw how much you can bench. I’m in this for the long haul.

    And bitching and moaning about how hard something is isn’t going to make you stronger. Tucking your chin, realizing that it might hurt but still getting in there and doing the work each and every day is what gets you strong in life.

  16. Totally agree with you Ryan. Getting ready to head to the park for R1 Phase 2 right now baby! Building strength and confidence like I never could at the gym.

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